A Wedding Primer
Expert advice to steer brides clear of Big Day fiascos
Getting hitched doesn’t usually go off without a hitch. If it did,
there wouldn’t be a half-century of cinematic examples of
weddings gone wrong—everything from Ginger Rogers’ fickle
dithering in It Had to Be You (1947) to Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway’s cat-fighting in Bride Wars (2009).To avoid any screen-worthy
scenarios of your own, take a little direction from local
wedding experts. Then the day will unfold
famously—in a good way.
Tip 1: Don’t try to do it all by yourself
Tim Elliott, store manager of Choy Flowers and Ikebana, has worked with his share of “Martha Stewart types” who try to handle all the preparations themselves. “I can guarantee that you don’t want to stay up until 2 a.m. the night before your wedding making centerpieces,” he comments. If you want to be creative, pick a few tasks that you can have fun with, but don’t let projects distract you from the joy of the occasion and spending time with friends and family.
Elliot advises brides not to micromanage every detail of the event. “Wedding professionals know that it’s hard to let go sometimes, but you hire florists, caterers, and DJs because events are their area of expertise. Trust their better judgment,” he says.
Tip 2: Don’t put children on the spot
A lot of brides like to include young children in the ceremony. This isn’t always wise, says Jennifer Williams, special-events coordinator of Westglow Resort & Spa. She shares a cautionary tale about a ring bearer who was barely old enough to walk and decided to throw the pillow. “The rings went flying into the grass.” As a rule, kids five and older are less likely to get stage fright.
Tip 3: Don’t be a diva
It’s OK to accept help on your wedding day, but Kimberly Hunter, proprietor and creative director of Forte Affair Events, points out that it’s poor form to force family and friends to help with wedding set-up. “It’s much more appropriate to hire someone to do all the work than to ask family to come ready to roll up their sleeves and place wedding décor, fold programs, take photos, or deliver gift baskets.” After all, you invited them to enjoy the day.
Stress can even be reflected in strained-faces in wedding portraits hints Gry Karen Rick of Woodward + Rick Photographers. “Don’t get too tangled up in the details or drama,” she urges. “My best photos are those that reflect the love and spirit of the wedding day.”
Tip 4: Don’t Withhold Information
Cutting corners at the expense of your loved ones is one way to make sure you don’t get an invitation to their weddings. Williams relates another disaster: “One couple refused to rent a tent, even though snow was in the forecast. The wedding party was prepared with fur wraps, but no one informed the guests that the ceremony was outdoors and unsheltered.”
Rachel Edwards, owner and designer of RAE Ink Hand-crafted Invitations, reminds brides “never to leave out important information on your invitation for the sake of design.” One client assumed that all her guests would check her wedding website for the full details—including that semi-formal dress was required. But those who didn’t go online came casually dressed, says Edwards, and were uncomfortable and embarrassed. “When in doubt, put it on the invitation.”
Tip 5: Don’t overdo the beauty treatments
“I always tell my brides not to have facials, waxing, or fake tanning the week of the wedding. This can be a disaster,” says Elizabeth Hempfling, owner of Events by Elizabeth Ashley.
Beauty multitasking also gets a thumbs-down from Rose Hecht, wedding coordinator at Adorn Salon & Boutique. For instance, don’t even think about getting a massage right before you have your updo done. “The massage could leave oil in your hair, making it impossible to style,” she explains. Also, consider a rehearsal styling. Booking a trial run gives you an opportunity to get the perfect look before the big day.